Posted by psgels on 24 December 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni


Some reviews are easier to write than others. With Higurashi, it’s going to be difficult, though, simply because of the huge contrast between the first and the second season. The fact also remains that this is one of these series that’s better than the sum of its parts. First, let me say that if you were interested in the concept of Higurashi, just to see “killer lolis” and cute girls, killing each other, then you will be disappointed. Sure, this is a disturbing series, but Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is so much more than a bunch of random massacres.

The first season is basically one incredibly well-developed mystery-series with lots and I mean lots of horror. Throughout six arcs, you see the different characters, as they discover more and more of the complex, multi-layered plot that forms the foundation of this series, while countless false tracks and red herrings are put on the screen, in order to confuse the viewer. You’ll never know who to trust at this point, and the same goes for the characters. There may be a few annoying moments here and there, including some pacing-issues, but overall it’s an intense and diverse thriller that keeps you hungry for more amidst the brutality.

And then the second season comes, and it’s completely different. The first season went so fast that it often didn’t leave any time for quiet moments and character-development; it sometimes went too fast that it nearly tripped, and then the second season comes and fixes this. The pacing continues at a very slow pace, but because of this, there is enough time to flesh out the different characters, to explain everything that need to be said about the story, and to build up for an incredibly solid finale. The characters actually start to realize that their bloodstained hands were a huge mistake, and they try to escape the horror. There’s also an incredibly huge emphasis on friendship and trust.

Obviously, the second season is less exciting to watch, but instead, the first season is less heart-warming. The second season is quite slow, while the first season thunders through its storyline to get it finished in time. Obviously, when you look at the individual elements, things feel strange, and for most people, it’s going to be hard to get used to the completely new road that the second season went into.

But boy, if you start looking at it from a distance, the entire package becomes so much better. In terms of storytelling, the story is closed off perfectly, even though there still is a third season on the way. It knows exactly how to build up well, and the storytelling for especially the second season has been flawless.

All in all, Higurashi is inconsistent, but it’s one heck of a special series. The cast of characters and the setting is definitely memorable, and there are more than enough different moments that make you care about them. Just one piece of advice: when watching episode 17, try not to eat or drink anything. You’ll understand when you watch it.

3 Responses

  1. anne says:

    I loved the series and never had a hard time getting into the 2nd season. Even with it’s slowness, it still had some shockingly gruesome and horrible moments. I guess I can see why people wouldn’t like it because it’s nothing like the first. But to me the strength of the show lies within the characters. If you love the characters you want to know the whys behind their actions. That is where the 2nd season really shines. Overall, it was a great show. I think the end was a bit too comical at times but I have no real complaints. It’s amazing storytelling and everything is so complete. The Higurashi team really redeemeded themselves with the 2nd season in terms of story telling.

  2. gsilver says:

    I recently saw this, and I didn’t like the second season nearly as much as the first. Too much ‘checklist’-mode, too much of Rika’s dialog felt off to me, too slow, too over-the-top in a lot of ways (not that the first season wasn’t, just in different and harder-to-accept ways).

    I also didn’t feel terribly attached to the characters, which is probably why our opinions differ so much on the second season. If I were enthralled by the character development (and yes, there is a lot of good stuff), the other issues wouldn’t overshadow it.

    Purely looking at the first season, it is very incomplete, yet the second season still doesn’t complement it nearly as well as it should.

    I loved the Rei OAV, though. That Hanyuu is tricky, ain’t she?

  3. Gerdano says:

    Many might dissagree with me but they kept babbling on about friendship and trust, in the end it became annoying. In the middle of the second season it kept repeating on about the (SPOOOOOOIIIIIILLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRR)
    child welfare saying no and stuff, which sucked, other than that part of the second season it was great, especially the way they tell u why all the acts were commited. I really liked how much of the different story arcs could, atleast a bit, relate to eachother and….. KEICHII FOREVAH. Lol just had to.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:30 AM)
    Watchmen was deemed ‘unadaptable’ for about thirty years, so just getting what Snyder got out of the material is a huge success; it is said that what he did was to write a book version of Ingmar’s Holy Mountain. Watchmen is the only graphic novel to ever win a Hugo award and is easily the most intricate and multilayered Alan Moore comic, so it’s no surprise that it continues to top ‘best comics of all time’ charts to this day.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:20 AM)
    I beg to differ. Doctor Manhatten is the most intriguing character of Watchmen and the comic is a giant in ,not only in the comic world, but the history of literature itself. It is a deconstruction of superheros and Dr. M shows how afraid the world would really be when faced with a ‘superman’ and how a creature in such a higher realm of time and perception would show apathy toward humans and their foolish struggles.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:15 AM)
    GitS just won’t work. Maybe in a world before the Matrix, but not now with so many elements of it borrowed liberally by so many franchises in various mediums. Scarlet Johansson is decent in roles that fit her. She was enjoyable in Lost In Translation, but race aside she has nothing in common with Kusanagi. This is a travesty and the franchise is dear to me so it especially burns my ass.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:10 AM)
    While I am no fan of man of steel, Nolan and Snyder, just about anyone would have a hard time taking a difficult character like superman and making him work on screen.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:08 AM)
    Apart from Veidt and Rorshach I could never get into the characters all that much in watchmen. I also found the film overly long and mediocre acted for the larger part. But to each there own. For Alan moores works I always preferred his Miracleman, swamp thing, V for Vendetta stories.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:06 AM)
    Nolan can produce the action plus personal and dark story that Alita would need, and he also brings talent such as composer Hans Zimmer and Cinematographer Sally Pfister to the table. Him and Snyder have too much combined integrity to make a mockery out of Alita like Spielberg did with the GitS license.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:03 AM)
    Well Snyder has respect for his source materials and that is key in anime-to-film adaptations. Hell I’m a big Watchmen fan and I thought his version was (almost painfully) close to the comic. You’re not going to get that anywhere else in Hollywood. Also the combination of Nolan/Snyder is quite different than them individually.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:34 AM)
    And directed it as a co-production with America, using a Japanese cast.
    Yeah…this is impossible…
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:32 AM)
    The only way a live action ghost in the shell film would work is if Mamoru oshii directed it.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:29 AM)
    Wait wait…his Van helsing film is a reboot sorry I confused it with the other one.

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